The Biblical Worldview Conference attracts students and adults who want to fight modern trends and ‘deconstruct’ the Christian religion.
How crucial is it for young people in the society of today to have a biblical worldview?
Students, young and old, are looking for answers to some of life’s most important problems, whether they are related to sex and gender, the scientific data that backs up the Scriptures, or even just the question of whether there really is such a thing as objective truth.
That was the inspiration for “Anchored,” a two-day conference held at Prestonwood Baptist Church earlier this week and attended by hundreds of kids from Christian schools.
The conference, organized by the Christian Thinkers Society and the Biblical Worldview Institute at Prestonwood Christian Academy, brought together a number of Christian thinkers and lecturers to present students with a sobering critique of contemporary culture.
“There has never been a more critical time to instill a Christ-centered worldview in today’s youth. The list continues to grow of individuals who have ‘deconstructed’ their faith and walked away from Christianity,” said PCA Dean of Spiritual Development, Jeremiah J. Johnston.
Touching on a range of topics from creation versus evolution to Christian ethics and heritage, current cultural trends, and more, speakers such as Sean McDowell, Alisa Childers, and Scott Stripling held both plenary and breakout sessions designed to stimulate conversations around biblical truth.
Childers, whose theme was “Live Your Truth (And Other Lies),” compared the cultural command to “be your authentic self” to the truth of the Bible.
“In Christianity, authenticity isn’t everything. Holiness is everything,” said Childers.
Explaining the law of noncontradiction and its implications for the exclusivity of Christ, Childers pointed to Jesus’ truth claims in John 14:6, adding, “Truth is what lines up with reality. Truth is not what you make up.”
Stripling, who serves as both provost at The Bible Seminary just outside of Houston and as the director of excavations for the Associates for Biblical Research at Khirbet el-Maqatir and Shiloh, Israel, spoke on the topic of archaeology, which he described as a “long, slow process.”
“It is not like Indiana Jones,” he added.
Pointing to the reliability of the Bible, Stripling underscored how the numerous geographical references made in the ancient text are as accurate as one would expect from the Word of God.
“The Bible doesn’t change,” he said. “If it says there was a river, I can take you to that river today. If it says there was a mountain, I can take you to that mountain today.”
But, Stripling conceded, merely affirming geographic accuracy isn’t enough when it comes to salvation through Christ.
“I can prove to you when [Jesus] died, where He died, and how He died,” said Stripling. “But what I cannot do is prove He died in your place.”
In a breakout session on deconstruction, McDowell spoke candidly about the “deconstruction” movement in the Church, which even McDowell conceded lacks a “defined, clear, black-and-white” definition.
There are those, he said, who use the term to refer to another form of apostasy or departing from the faith, while others use it to describe the process of simply reassessing or rethinking one’s faith.
“It’s somewhat of a nebulous term,” he said. “There’s debates among even people who are speaking [at the conference] about whether or not Christians should use the term deconstruction to refer to a questioning period.”
The topic has become so prevalent, said McDowell, that he’s planning on releasing a book sometime next year tentatively called Set Adrift, which looks at deconstructing “without losing your faith.”
While there are those who avoid using the term deconstruction because it’s so often interpreted to mean walking away from the faith, McDowell sees it a bit differently.
“I don’t have a problem with using the term if we define it, talk about what it means, and make sure we focus on the right things,” he said.
He recommended asking someone who says they are deconstructing their faith, “What does that mean?” so they can define their terms.
“If it’s to strip away what is false and hold onto what is true, “I’d be like, ‘Amen,’” he said.
But if they say they’re deconstructing their faith by abandoning it, “that’s a very, very different conversation,” McDowell said.
The deconstruction movement, which has gained a high profile among certain Christian celebrities, musicians, and young Evangelicals, finds its roots in 20th century philosophers like Foucault and Derrida, founders of queer theory and post-modernism, respectively.
Earlier this year, Childers also weighed in on the debate, writing, “The vast majority are from people who’ve de-converted from Christianity, become progressive Christians, embraced same-sex marriage and relationships, rejected core historic doctrines of the faith, or are on a mission to crush the white Christian patriarchy.”
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